“Aim towards the Enemy.” –Instructions printed on U.S. Rocket Launcher
“We have met the enemy and they are ours.” –Oliver Hazard Perry
One of the problems since the Vietnam War has been trying to identify the enemy. Is it the person in black pajamas wearing a pair of Uncle Ho’s sandals? Perhaps it is a boy strapped with grenades. Who is the suicide bomber? That was an issue with the kamikaze pilots of World War II. There would be flight of planes coming at the ship, which one was the kamikaze? Until recent times it was not hard to detect the enemy. Now he is more subtle and often pretends to be your friend until too late.
That is one of the cultural issues we are facing as well. Who are the belligerents? A few years ago a missionary who served in the Middle East was talking to me. His family had a servant, a Muslim boy. They became very fond of the boy and he became almost as part of the family. One day there came a warning that there was going to be an attack against Americans, especially Christians. It came to naught, but at the time there was fear. The missionary went to their “adopted” boy and asked. “Would you have killed us?” His reply. “Oh no, I was going to kill the neighbors and their servant would kill you.”
I see a very severe problem in the church. We should be fighting the enemy, yet it seems that we are becoming more and more like the enemy. There was slight change made to Perry’s quotation of victory in the old comic strip “Pogo Pog.” He made the statement, “We have met the enemy and we are the enemy.” At the time it was a spoof, but full of truth. We become our worst enemy when we become cohorts with the ones we are to be fighting. Look at some of the words from the Apostle John.
“Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world.”
–1 John 2:15-16 (NLT)
Yet we sit at the world’s table. Drink, sup, eat, dance and cavort with the world all the time. I guarantee if you stand up against the things of the world, they will bristle and snarl, baring their teeth ready to devour you. Thing is that many in the church will do the same. How can we become so compromising and so complacent in the face of the enemy? John further writes, and get this for it is the key verse of 1 John.
“We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the power and control of the evil one.” (5:19, NLT)
Cavort with the world and you are actually dancing in the arms of the devil. We are to shun him and the evil world.